Keratea residents vow to continue protests

Residents of Keratea, southeastern Attica, whose protests against the planned construction of a landfill in the area have become violent in recent weeks, on Tuesday pledged to continue their opposition to the project even after the country?s highest administrative court rejected an appeal by their local council on their behalf.

The Municipality of Keratea had appealed for the revocation of a ministerial decision ordering the construction of the landfill, citing the ?serious repercussions and irreparable damage that such a project would wreak on the local environment and the health of residents? as the reason for its objection.

In its verdict, the Council of State found these objections to be ?groundless.? But residents are still awaiting rulings on other appeals. A court is due to decide in early February whether construction of the landfill should go ahead.

In comments made to Skai Radio on Tuesday, Interior Minister Yiannis Ragousis called Keratea residents to show respect for court decisions. The minister said it was crucial that Greece close down dozens of illegal landfills that continue to operate in various parts of the country and replace them with sanitary facilities. ?The Greek state must close down all illegal landfills – not just to avoid looming financial penalties but to protect residents? health,? Ragousis told Skai.

In a related development – ahead of Friday?s scheduled visit to Brussels by Ragousis and Environment Minister Tina Birbili for talks on Greece?s efforts to raze dozens of illegal landfills – a group of conservation groups accused authorities of secretly promoting incineration as a solution to the country?s waste management problem.

A statement signed by WWF Hellas, Greenpeace and the Ecological Recycling Society (ECOREC) among others complained that authorities were ?resorting to the most expensive waste management solution in the middle of the worst financial crisis in our country?s modern history.?